Midland Football League Newsletter
26th November 2015
Pershore Town have appointed a new manager, Quentin Townsend. Quentin is a former Pershore Town F.C. centre half who played professionally for Wolves & Hereford United. Quentin was manager of Southam United until September & was appointed this week following former manager Glen Brotherton's departure by mutual consent. Quentin started his managerial reign with a morale boosting home win.
Coventry Sphinx Football Club regret to announce that their 1st Team Manager Luke Hopkins has decided to step down from his post with immediate effect. He had reached this difficult decision based on the fact that in his opinion he had taken the 1st team as far as he can and for the benefit of the club it was the right thing to do.
Club Chairman, Dannie Cahill commented, “It’s a sad day for the club but it says a lot about the man that has put the Club first. Luke is a Coventry Sphinx boy through and through and knowing Luke as I do it must have been a difficult decision for him to make. He has worked his socks off over the past 3 seasons and it’s all credit to him that he leaves us with some quality players that we can build on.”
“Everybody connected with the club wish Luke well in the future. He is also a Manager of in our junior section and I’m pleased to say he will still be in and around the club that he loves.
“As far as Luke’s replacement is concerned we will not be rushed in making a decision and as such ex 1st Team Manager Martin Ascroft and Lynton Wilkinson will take over team affairs. All credit to them both for stepping in at short notice. This further underpins what this club means to people here at the Sphinx.”
The draw for the 3rd round of the FA Vase has been made. Ties to take place on the weekend of December 12th
Alsager Town vs AFC Wulfrunians
Pinxton vs Nuneaton Griff or Highgate United
Walsall Wood vs Alvechurch
Uttoxeter Town vs Coleshill Town
Hereford vs Brocton
Travels of the Press Officer
Saturday November 21st
AFC Bridgnorth 1 Alvechurch 2
The 2nd round of the FA vase takes me to a ground I hadn’t visited for some time, Crown Meadow the home of AFC Bridgnorth. Not much had changed since I last saw Bridgnorth Town play there and the slope on the pitch seemed even more pronounced if anything. With Bridgnorth flying high in the West Midlands regional League, Premier Division high flyers Alvechurch were expecting a difficult afternoon. With the pitch very heavy after days of rain, a battle is exactly what we got. It was to be a day of strong tackles, weak refereeing (again), quality goals and good old fashioned cup football. Bridgnorth started the brighter and Matt Sergeant had to race off his line to thwart the impressive Anwar Olugbon. Sergeant was again to Church’s rescue with a fine save from a Jason Pike header. Alvechurch responded with a ball from Connor Deards which flew across the face of the goal. Olugbon continued to cause problems and he rattled the bar after finding himself free in the area. Alvechurch failed to heed the warning and Olugbon got his deserved goal in the 35th minute despatching his shot through Sergeant after freeing his marker. Chris Crook in the Bridgnorth goal made a fine save on the stroke of half-time from a Leigh Downing header. Bridgnorth should have doubled their lead in the 50th minute when Olugbon teed up Liam Armstrong but his shot was well saved by Sergeant. Alvechurch drew level in the 57th minute. A poor clearance from the Bridgnorth defence fell to Josh March whose first time volley flew into the net. I got better for Church within two minutes. A driving run from Dave Bellis was clipped home by Karl Edwards, a quality finish to a quality move. Would we now see the home side fade away. Not one bit. Pike went close in the 77th minute and Sergeant was again the hero pulling off a fine save from a Glynn Coney free-kick. 5 minutes into added on time, Bridgnorth had the ball in the net, but the linesman’s flag was raised and Alvechurch could celebrate being in the hat for the next round. A thoroughly enjoyable game of cup football on a horrible pitch. Just what non-league football is all about.
Some mixed results for MFL sides in the 2nd round of the FA Vase. Starting off with the disappointments, 2nd placed Heanor Town were knocked of the competition by a strong Leicester Nirvana side. Kieran Debrouwer brought the sides level after an early Nirvana goal but it was to no avail as the UCL leaders went through. Another of the leading Premier Division sides to go out were Long Eaton United who slipped up at home to lower division Pinxton. It looked like Long Eaton were going to take the game into extra-time but a late goal clinched the win for the visitors. Walsall Wood had the result of the round beating 2nd placed UCL side Holbeach United 4-1 at home, Corey Carruthers with a couple. Premier Division league leaders Hereford made progress beating Haughmond 4-1 in front of another bumper Edgar Street gate. Alvechurch were made to fight all the way by WMRL AFC Bridgnorth at Crown Meadow. Two pieces of quality finishing in three second half minutes saw the Church into Round 3. AFC Wulfrunians won 2-1 at Quorn in an all MFL tie, Jake Sedgemore with the winning goal from the penalty spot. Two sides struggling for league points met at Sphinx Drive and it was Brocton who eased past Coventry Sphinx by 3 goals to 2 with the returning Sam Bell getting a brace for the Badgers. Dunkirk took the lead at Coleshill Town but the home side eventually ran out 4-2 winners with Dean Rathbone scoring two in the last 6 minutes. First division Racing Club Warwick out up a decent performance at NCEL Cleethorpes Town but it was the home side that progressed 2-0. Nuneaton Griff and Highgate United fought out a tough 1-1 draw at The Pingles Stadium with Lei Brown’s penalty taking the game to a replay. On Sunday, Coventry United looked to be going through thanks to an early goal from Brian Ndlovu. Visitors Uttoxeter Town had other ideas, and two goals in the last 5 minutes sent the Staffordshire side through.
With most teams in FA Vase action, Sporting Khalsa took full advantage to close the gap on the leaders. They ran out 4-0 winners at home to Rocester with David Meese scoring twice. Shepshed Dynamo got back to winning way with a 2-1 win at Lye Town courtesy of a Matt Langham double. A big win at the bottom for Boldmere St Michaels who beat basement club Continental Star 5-1. Star took the lead early on but a matt Garner hat-trick sent the Mikes up the table. Only one game in midweek and Boldmere St Michaels moved further away from the bottom with a 2-1 win over Lye Town.
The big game in Division 1 saw the first Hinckley derby for 20 years. Leicester Road raced into a 2-0 lead but the sending off of keeper Will Highland changes things. Hinckley AFC came back and won it in stoppage time with a goal from Luke Richards in front of a healthy crowd of 290. Lichfield City closed the gap on the leaders winning a remarkable game at Littleton 4-3. City had raced into a 3-1 but the home side levelled before a last ditch goal from Michael Taylor gave the points to the visitors. Bromsgrove Sporting also closed the gap at the top with a 3-1 win over Atherstone Town, despite the Adders taking an early lead. A big win for Pershore Town near the bottom of the table
as Daniel Ludlow’s hat-trick helped them to a 4-1 victory over Bolehall Swifts. Pelsall Villa also picked up an important 3 points with a 4-2 win at home to Heather St Johns, Ahkeem Rose with a hat-trick. Stafford Town missed the chance to climb off the bottom as a Joe Pickering goal was enough for Heath Hayes to take all the points at Evans Park. A good win for Studley at The TSA ground as a 2-0 victory over Cadbury Athletic moves them into the top half of the table. A remarkable game in midweek with Heath Hayes winning 4-3 at Pelsall Villa. It looked comfortable for the visitors at 2-0 but Villa came back to draw level before Heath Hayes finally edged home.
Droitwich Spa are up to 2nd after a 2-0 home win over Knowle. A good home win for Fairfield Villa moves them up 3 places as they defeated Coton Green 4-1.
Leamington Hibernian are the new leaders following a 4-2 win over Burntwood Town. Smithswood Firs are down to second after they lost a pulsating game 3-2 at Shipston Excelsior, who are now up to 6th. A second win on the trot for Perrywood, 3-2 over Badsey Rangers, has seen them move up to 13th in the table.
Les James Challenge Cup
Inkberrow are through to the quarter finals after a 3-2 home win over Redditch Borough.
A big win for Chelmsley Town as they won 6-0 at Austrey Rangers as they progressed to the last 4.
Last Saturday saw another weekend of cup fixtures. In the Smedley Crooke Memorial Charity Cup, Earlswood Town put their league troubles behind them to win 3-1 at Lichfield City U21. In the Birmingham Saturday Vase, Alvis Sporting Club continued to bang in the goals in a 7-2 win at Athletic Sparkhill. Barton United beat cup holders Whitnash, Barnt Green Spartak won a penalty shoot out to get past Paget Rangers and FC Stratford went out, losing 2-1 at home to Old Wulfrunians. In the Birmingham Saturday Amateur Cup, Cadbury Athletic Reserves won at Coventrians while Gornal Athletic U21s lost at Peugeot Milpool. In the Staffordshire Challenge Cup, Brereton Social U21s beat their Walsall Wood compatriots 4 goals to one. In midweek, Loughborough University were knocked out of the Leicestershire Challenge Cup by St Andrews. There was also a cup exit for Stourport Swifts, knocked out of the Worcester Royal Infirmary Cup by Bewdley Town. In the Worcestershire Senior urn, a Simon Brain hat-trick helped Bromsgrove Sporting defeat Malvern Town 4-1.
A remarkable game in the reserves division as Coventry United and Evesham United shared 10 goals in a 5-5 draw. Solihull Moors are back on top following a 1-0 win over Continental Star. In the other league game an important victory for Sutton United, 2-1 over Brocton.
Under 21 Divisions
Plenty of goals in the 3 league games played this week. In the North, Anstey Nomads picked up their second league win of the season beating Tipton Town 3-2. Stourport Swifts are back on top of the South division after a 6-2 win over Leamington, Andrew Hudson with a hat-trick. Kings Heath Concorde were also big winners, 5-3 over Bromsgrove Sporting.
All but two sides are in Premier Division action this weekend. Leaders Hereford travel to Packmeadow to face a Coleshill Town side that won the earlier game between the two sides by 5 goals to 4. Hereford have put together a remarkable run of victories and clean sheets and will need to be on top of their game to keep these records going. Two sides who had contrasting results in the FA Vase last weekend meet at Silkmore Lane. Brocton progressed through to the 3rd round but are desperate for points at the bottom of the table. Visitors Heanor Town were disappointing in exiting the Vase but their league form has been superb. The two sides drew earlier in the season and this could be another tight affair. Alvechurch can do no wrong at the moment and welcome Rocester to Lye Meadow as they look to maintain the pressure on the leaders. The Romans have had mixed results this season and are uncomfortably near the bottom but they will do well to blunt Church’s attacking threat. Highgate United can move into 4th place if they can beat Loughborough University at The Coppice. The students have been conceding an awful lot of goals of late and are up against 22 goal striker Lei Brown. AFC Wulfrunians are on an excellent run of form and they welcome Stourport Swifts to Castlecroft. Swifts started the season brilliantly but have found it difficult of late to string s decent run of results together. Wulfs on the other hand come into the game in confidence following heir FA Vase victory last weekend. Shepshed Dynamo travel to Westfields with an eye firmly on the top 6. Recent results haven’t exactly gone their way but the same could be said of their hosts. Both sides need a win for very different reasons which could make for an exciting encounter. Bottom placed Continental Star are in real danger of being cut adrift. They travel to Quorn themselves only 4 points above the drop zone. Star must start picking up points if they are to move
away from the bottom of the table. Walsall Wood are another side who have picked up in recent weeks and they will feel the momentum is with them when they entertain a faltering Long Eaton United. Defeat in the FA Vase at the hands of Pinxton will have been a major disappointment for Long Eaton and they need to get back on the winning trail if their season is not to drift away. It has been a bad week for Coventry Sphinx being knocked out of the FA Vase and losing manager Luke Hopkins. They travel to a resurgent Boldmere St Michaels who have managed to claw themselves away from the bottom of the table. While Sphinx have games in hand on the sides around them, their league form points to another difficult afternoon. Bardon Hill welcome Lye Town to Leicestershire with both sides comfortably in the middle of the pack. Consistency is something both sides have lacked this season as good results have been interspersed with bad. Another one, impossible to second guess.
No question where the big game is in Division 1 this week as the top two meet at The Pingles Stadium. 2nd placed Nuneaton Griff were scoring goals for fun early in the season but the goals have not been as free flowing in recent weeks. Leaders Coventry United suffered a shock defeat in the FA Vase last weekend and a win will open up a 7 point gap at the top. While it’ not a season defining game, the result of this one will have a major impact on the league table. Behind the top two, there are 4 clubs sitting together on 32 points. Leicester Road were beaten by a very late goal last week and they will want to bounce back when they travel to Studley. Lichfield City continue to score goals and will be expecting to improve their goal difference when they host struggling Southam United. Bromsgrove Sporting face a tricky afternoon with a trip to Littleton who are just four points behind The Rouslers. Pilkington XXX are the form side in the division winning their last 7 games and not conceding in 5. They travel to Coventry Copsewood who are comfortable in the middle of the pack. At the bottom, a huge game at Rene Road as the bottom two lock horns. Bolehall Swifts have moved off the bottom courtesy of two wins in their last 4 which has left visitors Stafford Town rooted to the foot of the table. A win for either could change the complexion of their season. Hinckley AFC still have games in hand on the top two but will need to keep winning if they are to close the gap. They welcome 15th placed Racing Club Warwick to St Johns Park in a must win game. Cadbury Athletic welcome Heath Hayes to the TSA Sports Ground with the visitors on a run of 5 consecutive away wins. Pelsall Villa and Atherstone Town are locked together on 17 points and both will be wanting a win to move away from the lower reaches when they meet at The Bush Ground.
With none of the top three in league action, focus is on 4th placed Rostance Edwards as they welcome Barnt Green Spartak to The Red Lion Ground. A win for Eddies would close the gap to the leaders to just 5 points. At the bottom, Earlswood Town have just the one point and they travel to 5th placed Sutton United who won the reverse fixture 4-1. In the other league game, Austrey Rangers host Fairfield Villa in a mid table clash.
The leadership of Division 3 has been shared around somewhat this season and with 5 points separating the top 7 clubs, I am sure this will continue. Current leaders Leamington Hibernian travel to lowly Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons looking to cement their number 1 spot. To highlight how close the league is, 7th placed Northfield Town could go 3rd with a big win at Coventrians. 13th meet 15th as Perrywood entertain Alcester Town. A win for either would see them move well away from basement side AFC Solihull. Enville Athletic welcome Inkberrow to Hall Lane – a win for the home side seeing them leapfrog the visitors.
Les James Challenge Cup
Two of the top three in Division 3 meet with Barton United hosting Smithswood Firs. A chance for a giant killing at Ravenhill Park when Burntwood Town welcome higher division Knowle, with a quarter final place at stake.
Two quarter finals in the Presidents Cup this weekend. Second division front runners Alvis Sporting Club are red hot favourites at home to Feckenham while Hampton and Paget Rangers look well matched in the other tie.
Continental Star v Cadbury Athletic
Coventry United v Lichfield City
Evesham United v Gresley
Rocester v Brocton
Romulus v Coleshill Town (Trophy)
Under 21 Divisions
Leamington v West Midlands Football Academy (U21S)
Bromsgrove Sporting v Anstey Nomads (Bowl)
Gornal Athletic v Kings Heath Concorde (Bowl)
Heath Hayes v H.O.W. Academy (Bowl)
Bedworth United v Sutton Coldfield Town (Bowl)
Tamworth v Basford United (U21N)
Tipton Town v Walsall Wood (Bowl)
Midland Football League Newsletter
19th November 2015
Droitwich Spa Football Club is delighted to announce that Peter Lemon has been appointed as its new Chairman. Peter's appointment is part of the wider process of strengthening the leadership team which began last year with the appointment of joint managers Wayne Oliver and Mark Owen. Peter Lemon added: "I am honoured to take on the role of Chairman. During the past year the club has achieved a great deal and there is a real buzz surrounding the team. I truly believe that the club is in a very strong position to continue improving in all aspects both on and off the pitch." Departing club Chairman Ben Pheasant added: “I am sad to be stepping down but felt the time was right and I’m very proud of having helped move the club into a much stronger position. I met with Peter to discuss the future of the club, and I know he will do a fantastic job."
Travels of the Press Officer
Saturday November 14th
Bardon Hill 0 Hereford 2
My first ever visit to Bardon Hill and I certainly chose the right day for it weather wise, NOT. The rain had started before I left the Black Country and the nearer I got to Bardon the worse it got. With visions of a late postponement, it was with a sense of trepidation that I entered the ground. Thankfully, the pitch seemed to be holding up but I also send that an awful lot of people would get a soaking today. Normally, on a match day, I partake of the hospitality offered by the host club and enjoy catching up with officials from both sides as we look forward to the game. On this occasion, and I apologise to my friends at both Bardon hill and Hereford, I decided to get myself a seat in the stand and to stay there. With the weather deteriorating and the fans streaming into the ground, I was rather glad I took that decision. The conditions with a gale force wind, driving rain and a heavy pitch looked as though this would be a real test of Hereford’s title credentials, and we weren’t to be disappointed. Following an impeccably observed one minute silence following the Paris terrorist attacks the game got under way. Hereford dominated the early stages with two inswinging corners causing panic in the Bardon Hill defence. Pablo Haysham had a decent chance for the Bulls but cleared the crossbar with his effort. Leading scorer John Mills was finding the underfoot conditions to be something of a challenge as he knocked the ball past Bardon Keeper Tom Gutteridge but the ball ran away from him. Mike Symons showed some nice control but the end shot was saved by the keeper. It was all Hereford, and Joel Edwards fired over the bar before Haysham saw another effort saved. Bardon Hill first real attempt came from Dean Withers whose shot was blocked and then Rich Hanslow forced a comfortable save from Harvey Rivers. Just before the break, Symons teed up Rob Purdie but he placed his shot wide and the sides went into the break level. With the wind now at
their backs, more was expected from Bardon Hill in the second half. In fact, it was Hereford who got the breakthrough in the 51st minute. Seconds after missing the target with another effort, Mills latched onto a long ball from Rob Green and slid it past Gutteridge to the delight of the large travelling support. Green almost undid the good work by missing the ball allowing Kyle Fowkes through on goal. Fowkes should have done better but blasted the chance over. A low cross from Rob Mulonga took a deflection and landed on top of the Hereford crossbar as Bardon strived for an equaliser. The decisive goal came 10 minutes from time when Max Kontic-Coveney’s cross was bundled in by Symons to double the Bulls lead. Hereford comfortably saw out the clock to record their 13th consecutive league win and their 9th consecutive clean sheet. In filthy conditions, both teams served up a full blooded game of football. Hereford will see this as a signal to the rest that they can mix it in the worsening winter conditions. Considering the weather, a great turn out of supporters from both sides and a good advert for the Midland Football League.
Tuesday November 17th
Walsall Wood 0 Sporting Khalsa 0 (Abandoned after 29 minutes)
Storm Barney hits the country and high winds are causing chaos everywhere. Walking into the ML Safety Stadium it is obvious that conditions will be difficult. Khalsa had the ‘advantage’ of the gale force wind behind their back as we kicked off and it was very clear that controlling passes was going to be nigh on impossible. Khalsa leading scorer Craig Bannister hit the post with a 25 yard effort and adopted a shoot on sight policy to take advantage of the conditions. In the 18th minute, Mike Nelson’s cross come shot hit deceived Lee Evans and bounced back off the bar. Carlo Franco’s follow up was well saved. Franco then saw another shot saved as The Wood were struggling to get the ball out of their half. When they did, excellent work from Joey Butlin saw Max Black’s effort blocked by the Khalsa defence. We then witnessed a clearance from The Wood defence bend like a boomerang and go careering towards their own goal. The referee had seen enough and called both managers over. Players from both sides had been complaining about the wind and he said the correct decision was to abandon the game. The managers shook hands and we departed the main stand for safety! The game promised a lot but the conditions gave the officials no choice.
League leaders Hereford were made to work all the way to earn their 13th successive league win at a wet and windy Bardon Hill. Two second half goals from John Mills and Mike Symons maintained Hereford’s lead at the top. 2nd placed Heanor Town hammered Boldmere St Michaels 7-2 at the Town Ground. Highlight for the Lions was a hat-trick inside 7 minutes in the second half for Alex Brown. 3rd placed Alvechurch kept up the pressure on the leaders with an impressive 4-1 win over Shepshed Dynamo, with 3 goals in 5 first half minutes turning the game their way. Highgate United stay 4th after a comfortable 4-0 win over Quorn, Ricardo Richards with a couple. Sporting Khalsa beat Lye Town 1-0 in the Black Country derby courtesy of Craig Bannister’s 25h of the season. AFC Wulfrunians are up to 6th after Kyle Brady scored all 4 in a 4-1 win over Long Eaton United at Castlecroft. The big game at the bottom went the way of Dunkirk as they won 4-1 at Continental Star who are now 6 points adrift at the bottom. Coventry Sphinx move up two places following a 2-1 win at Stourport Swifts. Brocton drop to 19th when a Dan Griffiths goal 4 minutes from time gave Walsall Wood all 3 points. Rocester are 17th following a 4-1 defeat at Coleshill Town, Reece Leek scoring the first two for the home side. It’s been a bad week for Loughborough University who suffered another heavy defeat, this time at the hands of Westfields. Westfields ran out 4-0 winners with Craig Jones bagging a double including a trademark free-kick. Alvechurch kept up the pressure on the top two with a 3-0win in midweek over Westfields. It was all square with 13 minutes left but goals from Connor Deards, Leigh Downing and Karl Edwards gave the points to the Church. Highgate United lost touch with the top 3 as a Luke Barlone double, the winner 4 minutes into stoppage time, gave all the points to Coleshill Town.
In the game of the day, leaders Coventry United came back from a goal down to beat Bromsgrove Sporting 3-2 and extend their lead to 4 points. Leicester Road where the day’s big winners, 7-3 at home to Racing Club Warwick, Jake Holt on the mark with a couple. Pilkington XXX are level on points with Leicester Road after a 1-0 win over Littleton, their 7th successive league victory. Bolehall Swifts are off the bottom after a remarkable game against Pelsall Villa. Villa had eased into a 2-0 lead before Swifts replied with 4 goals to move up to 19th place. Stafford Town replace them at the bottom after a 3-1 home defeat at the hands of Studley, despite taking an early lead through Ryan Baxter. A good win near the bottom of the table for Heather St Johns with a single goal all that was required to beat Cadbury Athletic. Southam United’s slide down the table continued with a 5-1 home defeat at the hands of Coventry Copsewood. In the A5 derby, Hinckley AFC won 2-0 at Atherstone Town, Sean Williams and Nathan Walker with the goals. In midweek, 7th and 8th fought out a 1-1 draw at St Johns Park as Hinckley AFC hosted Littleton.
Only one game in Division 2 and for the second week running Droitwich Spa were amongst the goals. Bottom club Earlswood Town were their victims as Spa ran out 9-1 winners, James Lemon remarkably getting a double hat-trick.
The encounter between the bottom two went the way of visitors Perrywood with a 2-0 victory at AFC Solihull. Barton United missed the opportunity to go top as they were held 1-1 by FC Stratford. Badsey Rangers are up to 4th place after a 3-1 win over Shipston Excelsior. At Ravenhill Park, Burntwood Town and Inkberrow shared the points in a 6-goal thriller.
Les James Challenge Cup
Feckenham are through to the quart final after a 2-1 win over Coventrians at the Entaco.
Last Saturday saw plenty of fixtures in the Birmingham Saturday Vase. Northfield Town, Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons, Hampton, Smithswood Firs, Chelmsley Town, Coton Green and Knowle all made progress. Unfortunately, there will be no cup success for Redditch Borough, Enville Athletic, Leamington Hibernian, Alcester Town, Austrey Rangers and Sutton United who all bowed out of the competition. In the Staffordshire Vase, there was success for Rostance Edwards, Lichfield City and Heath Hayes with a 100% success for the MFL. Alvis Sporting Club continued their fine season with a 4-1 victory over Triumph Athletic in the Coventry Charity Cup. In the Smedley Crooke Memorial Charity Cup both Barnt Green Spartak (at Blackheath) and Paget Rangers (at home to Fairfield Villa) booked their place in the next round. Paget Rangers racked up 8 goals without conceding against Red Star Amla in the JW Hunt Cup. In the Leicestershire Challenge Cup, Shepshed Dynamo made progress with a 2-0 win at Kirby Muxloe but Bardon Hill are out, losing 2-0 at neighbours Coalville Town.
The top two both scored 5 goals away from home. Leaders Coleshill Town won 5-1 at Coventry United while second place Solihull Moors won 5-0 at Sutton United. There were also away wins for Lichfield City, at Cadbury Athletic, and for Romulus at Rocester. The only side to win at home were Brocton who beat Evesham United 3-2.
Under 21 Divisions
In the only league game played, Bromsgrove Sporting were beaten 2-1 at home by West Midlands Football Academy. In the Bowl, H.O.W. Academy won 3-0 at Kings Heath Concorde while Sutton Coldfield Town and Leamington drew 1-1.
This weekend sees the 2nd round of the FA Vase and 15 of our clubs remain in the competition. The Midland Football League is guaranteed 4 teams through to the next round but will expect a lot more. Of the four all Midland League ties, there is an intriguing game at the Pingles Stadium. Division 1 high flyers Nuneaton Griff welcome Premier Division promotion chasers Highgate United in what promises to be an entertaining clash. There are three all Premier Division ties and they are all difficult to call. Inconsistent Coleshill Town welcome Dunkirk to Pack Meadow. Both teams come into the game on the back of good away victories but the form book is definitely on the side of the home team. Coventry Sphinx and Brocton are both at the wrong end of the table and a good run in the Vase could be just the morale booster they need. They meet at Sphinx Drive and this is a game that could go either way. AFC Wulfrunians have hit a rich vein of form and they travel to Quorn with some confidence of progress. Quorn have struggled of late but home advantage could count. Another tight one. A big game with two sides in great form at the top of their respective divisions takes place at The Town Ground as Heanor Town welcome Leicester Nirvana. Nirvana have lost just the once in the league this season and they have a healthy lead at the top of the United Counties League. Heanor have been in tremendous goalscoring form of late and I expect their support to be the twelfth man to get through to the 3rd round. Premier Division league leaders Hereford welcome West Midlands League 2nd placed Haughmond to Edgar Street in what could be a tricky tie. Hereford are on such a fantastic run of form that it is hard to see anything other than a home win. Alvechurch are another premier Division side in great form and they have a winnable tie at WMRL 4th placed AFC Bridgnorth. Crown Meadow is a difficult pace to visit and Bridgnorth are in decent form themselves but I expect Alvechurch to have too much firepower. There could be another tight game at the ML Safety Stadium when renowned FA Vase competitors Walsall Wood welcome UCL side Holbeach United. Holbeach have already beaten MFL opposition this season knocking Stourport Swifts out of the FA Cup and cannot be taken lightly. This is a game that has extra time written all over it. Long Eaton United have a home tie against Pinxton and the difference in league status points to a home win. Division 1 Racing Club Warwick face the long trip to Cleethorpes Town and the draw couldn’t have been much more difficult. With Cleethorpes flying high in the NECL, a Racing Club win would be a major giantkilling. One FA Vase game on Sunday sees Division 1 leaders Coventry United welcome Uttoxeter Town to Sphinx Drive. Both clubs were giantkillers in the previous round but United hold all the aces and should progress.
With so many sides in FA Vase action, Sporting Khalsa have the opportunity to close the gap on the leaders when they welcome Rocester to Aspray Arena. At the bottom, basement side Continental Star entertain 20th placed Boldmere St Michaels in a huge game for both sides. A win for Star closes the gap on Dunkirk while a win for the Mikes could see them jump three places. Shepshed Dynamo have had a poor run of results and they will want to arrest the slide when they travel to Lye Town, themselves in a decent run of form. Bardon Hill and Westfields are both too close to the drop zone for comfort so there is a lot at stake when the two meet in Leicestershire.
With the top two on FA Vase duty. 3rd placed Leicester Road can close the gap but what a game to choose to do it, away to Hinckley AFC. This is a really tasty local derby and there will be no ground given in the battle for supremacy. 5th placed Lichfield City can go 4th with a win at 7th placed Littleton. A home win sees the places reversed. Bromsgrove Sporting are looking for a higher place and will expect to beat Atherstone Town at The Victoria Ground. At the bottom, changes on and off the pitch has seen Bolehall Swifts climb off the bottom of the table. They can move further away from bottom spot with a win at fellow strugglers Pershore Town. Bolehall’s rise has seen Stafford Town take over last place and they have a tough local derby with Heath Hayes at Evans Park this week. Heather St Johns have been in the bottom three for some time but recent form gives them some encouragement as they travel to another struggling side, Pelsall Villa. The other games sees two mid table sides lock horns as Cadbury Athletic entertain Studley.
The endless round of cup ties continue with just three games in Division 2. In the last two weeks, Droitwich Spa have scored 15 goals at home without reply so it may not be the best time for Knowle to be visiting. 2nd bottom Feckenham host Hampton knowing a win would take them 9 points clear of basement side Earlswood Town. Fairfield Villa are one place ahead of Feckenham and a win at home to Coton Green could take them 3 places higher.
Leaders Smithswood Firs are back in league action and they travel to mid table Shipston Excelsior. Depending on results elsewhere, Leamington Hibernian could go top if they beat Burntwood Town at home. Badsey Rangers can keep the heat on the top three with a win at lowly Perrywood while Enville Athletic welcome Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons, a win for either side moving them away from the bottom
Les James Challenge Cup
Inkberrow host Redditch Borough with a place in the quarter finals at stake,
Quarter final of the Presidents Cup as Austrey Rangers host Division 2 leaders Chelmsley Town, in what could be a very close encounter.
Coventry United v Evesham United
Sutton United v Brocton
Gresley v Lichfield City
Solihull Moors v Continental Star
Romulus v Coleshill Town (Trophy)
Under 21 Divisions
Kings Heath Concorde v Bromsgrove Sporting (U21S)
Stourport Swifts v Leamington (U21S)
Anstey Nomads v Tipton Town (U21N)
Heath Hayes v Tamworth (Bowl)
Basford united v Sutton Coldfield Town (Bowl)
Midland Football League Newsletter
12th November 2015
The Midland Football League have reached an agreement with Big Centre TV, a Walsall based TV company, to provide content for a weekly non-league show. All clubs are being encouraged to submit goal clips, audio, still photographs etc for inclusion in the show. Big Centre TV will regularly produce features on individual clubs with a story to tell. Match results and previews will be provided by the League for inclusion in the nightly sport round-up. It is anticipated that the relationship between the Midland Football League and Big Centre TV will provide significant benefit for both parties and all clubs within the MFL. For further information, please contact the press officer. Following the dismissal of Mark Taylor, Bolehall Swifts have appointed Craig Haywood and Joe Obi as the new management team. The new team got off to the perfect start with a 3-0 win at Coventry Copsewood.
Travels of the Press Officer
Tuesday November 10th
AFC Wulfrunians 1 Shepshed Dynamo 0
On a busy weekday, it’s great to have a few Midland League sides on my doorstep and a trip to Castlecroft was on the cards for my first sighting of one of this season’s promotion candidates, Shepshed Dynamo. 5 wins and a draw in the last 6 matches suggested that in-form Dynamo were strong favourites to maintain their chase of leaders Hereford. The home side, with leading scorer Ricky Anslow injured, should have taken the lead inside the first minute. An excellent move down the right ended with a pinpoint cross from Jake Webb but Kyle Brady put his header over. Dominic Brennan had a decent chance for Shepshed but was guilty of trying to walk the ball in rather than play in his strike partner. Wulfs took the lead in the 17th minute and it owed a great deal to the control and trickery of Jamie King. King picked up the ball on the left, ghosted past defender and played the ball back into the box where Brady couldn’t, and didn’t miss. Shepshed took some time to respond but went close when Luke Read shot wide. The visitors continued to create half chances without testing Danny Tipton until just before the break when Reeve’s header was comfortably saved. The nearest we came to an equaliser was via a Jake Sedgemore sliced clearance which just cleared his own cross bar. With the strong wind behind their backs in the second half, Shepshed were expected to take advantage of the conditions and get back into the game. For all their effort, Tipton was not tested. Shepshed should have equalised in the 78th minute when an excellent cross from Smith was missed by Adam Hohn in front of goal and the chance went begging. Tipton was finally called into action and saved well from Brennan. Into stoppage time, Hohn’s evening went from bad to worse as he was shown a straight red for bringing down Kyle Minto, with the referee quite rightly judging that he was the last man. A good win for Wulfs but Castlecroft is no happy hunting ground for Dynamo with no goals scored in their last three visits. Given the conditions, another excellent game of football showing the strength in depth of the Premier Division.
Hereford are back in pole position after a 4-0 win over Rocester at Edgar Street. Leading scorer John Mills with his 27th goal of the season opened the scoring in the 13th minute and the Romans were in still in it when Pablo Haysham grabbed number 2 seven minutes after the break. Previous leaders Heanor Town dropped back to second after a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Sporting Khalsa. For Khalsa, Tes Robinson was again on the scoresheet together with a debut strike from matt Martin. Alvechurch maintained their good form with a 3-0 win over Coleshill Town and sit just 6 points behind Hereford with three games in hand. Two of the front runners cancelled each other out at The Dovecote as Shepshed Dynamo and Highgate United fought out a goalless draw. Long Eaton United are losing touch with the leaders going down 3-1 win at Stourport Swifts. A goal two minutes from time from Kalum Evitts was all that separated Lye Town and AFC Wulfrunians with the home side taking the points. At the foot of the table, Dunkirk lost 3-2 at home to Walsall Wood with Dan Griffiths bagging a brace for The Wood. Brocton and Westfields shared the points at Silkmore Lane following a 1-1 draw. On Tuesday evening, Hereford opened up a five point gap at the top with a thumping 6-0 win over Stourport Swifts. Recent signing Mike Symons scored a hat-trick while there was a debut goal for Mustapha Bundu. Lye Town picked up their second home win of the week with a 6-1 victory over Loughborough University, James Spray and Dreniz Bala with a couple each. Shepshed Dynamo missed the chance to go fourth going down to a Kyle Brady goal at AFC Wulfrunians. Walsall Wood are up to 8th after a 3-2 home win over Coleshill Town who have slipped to 15th in the table.
A goal 4 minutes from time from Gift Mussa gave the leaders Coventry United a narrow 2-1 win over Stafford Town. United have increased their lead at the top to 4 points after Nuneaton Griff were held at home by Atherstone Town in front of a healthy 168 crowd. Bromsgrove Sporting continue to put pressure on the sides above them but they were forced to work hard for their points by Pelsall Villa. Villa took the lead in the 33rd minute but three goals in the last 16 minutes swung the game the way of the Rouslers. Lichfield City are 4th after a 4-3 win at Heather St Johns with Tony Clarke scoring twice taking his season tally to 17. At the bottom of the table, rock bottom Bolehall Swifts with a much changed squad won 3-0 at Coventry Copsewood to close the gap to just 1 point. On Wednesday, an own goal from Joe McNulty was all that separated Nuneaton Griff and Bolehall Swifts with Griff getting the all important 3 points.
Only one game survived the weather and it was good afternoon for Droitwich Spa who hammered Coton Green 6-0. The goals were shared around with Nick Seabourne adding another two to his account.
No doubting the game of the day as Badsey Rangers returned from Leamington Hibernian with all the points after a 5-4 victory, Elliott Grady and Chris Mills both scoring twice for Badsey. There are only 7 points separating the top 7 after Shipston Excelsior beat Barton United 4-1.
Les James Challenge Cup
Alvis Sporting Club are through to the quarter finals after a 6-0 win at Austrey Rangers. Dildale Linton led the way with a hat-trick with Shane Brassington also chipping in with a couple.
Burntwood Town progressed through to the next round of the Staffordshire Challenge Cup after beating Stone Dominoes 2-1 after extra time. In the Smedley Crooke Memorial Charity Cup there was an excellent win for Chelmlsey Town over higher ranked opposition as they beat Littleton 1-0 thanks to a goal from Sam Sadler. FC Stratford needed penalties to ease past Sportsco after drawing 2-2 at full time. Bromsgrove Sporting beat Inkberrow 5-0 in the same competition. In the Staffordshire Senior Cup, a Karl Demidh hat-trick helped Rocester beat Sporting Khalsa 4-1 at Hillsfield. In the Worcestershire Senior Urn, Alvechurch needed penalties to beat Studley while Littleton put 5 past Pershore Town. Westfields are through to the next round of the Herefordshire Challenge Cup after a 2-0 win over Wellington. Hinckley AFC went goal crazy in the JW Hunt cup, beating Continental Star reserves 6-1. In the Derbyshire Senior Cup both Long Eaton United and Heanor Town progressed to the next round beating Holbrook St Michaels and Belper United respectively.
Leaders Coleshill Town suffered their second consecutive defeat as they were beaten 3-2 at home by Rocester. Sutton United reached the semi final of the Challenge trophy with a 2-0 win over Continental Star.
Under 21 Divisions
In the South division, Kings Heath Concorde picked up their first points of the season with a 1-0 win at West Midlands Football Academy. In the North, Sutton Coldfield Town went top following a 4-3 win at Tipton Town.
A full fixture list in the Premier Division and some huge games at both ends of the table. Stand out fixture at the top sees 3rd placed Alvechurch entertain 5th placed Shepshed Dynamo. Church had a poor end to October but have bounced back with some important victories. Dynamo themselves have had a disappointing week failing to score and dropping 5 points in two games. An important game for both. Another huge game features the sides in the bottom two places as 22nd placed Continental Star welcome 21st place Dunkirk to Dales Lane. Continental Star last picked up points on the 26th September while Dunkirk picked up a point in mid October. A win for the home side would take them above Dunkirk so there is everything to play for. The league leaders Hereford take their 12 game winning run to Bardon Hill in a repeat of the FA Vase fixture which the Bulls won 1-0. 2nd placed Heanor Town slipped up last week and need to get back to winning ways if they are to keep in contact with Hereford. On Saturday they welcome lowly Boldmere St Michaels to the Town Ground. Sporting Khalsa have 6 games in hand on the leaders and a win at home to Lye Town keeps up the pressure on the sides above them. Highgate United are 4th and are favourites to maintain that position when they entertain Quorn. Coleshill Town have slipped down the table in recent weeks and it won’t be easy at Pack meadow against an ever improving Rocester. Coventry Sphinx are in a dreadful run of results in the league but their FA Vase comeback may be the kick start their season needs. They travel to Stourport Swifts, still smarting from the 6 goal defeat at Hereford in midweek. Walsall Wood have put together some decent results in recent weeks and they welcome Brocton to the ML Safety Stadium, with the visitors desperate for points to move away from the lower reaches of the table. Westfields too find themselves in the bottom half of the table and they welcome inconsistent Loughborough University to Allpay Park.
Undoubted match of the day is at Sphinx Drive as leaders Coventry United host 5th placed Bromsgrove Sporting. With both sides having just a solitary league defeat this season, a win for either would have a major impact on the title race. Leicester Road will be hoping those two cancel each other out as they challenge at the top. They welcome Racing Club Warwick to Leicester Road Stadium, the visitors with one eye on the FA Vase trip to Cleethorpes Town in a week’s time. 6th meet 7th at the TSA Sports Ground as Pilkington XXX host Littleton. After gaining a point in the local derby at Nuneaton Griff last week, Atherstone Town will want to build on this when they host Hinckley AFC. Hinckley have 4 games in hand on the leaders and will still expect to be in the mix at the end of the season. At the bottom, a much changed Bolehall Swifts can lift themselves up the table with a win over Pelsall Villa. Stafford Town are in danger of dropping to the foot of the table and need to start picking up points if they are to move away from the relegation zone. Visitors Studley are only 8 points ahead of the Reds and a victory would move them to the relative comfort of mid table. Heather St Johns have improved in recent weeks and will hope to continue that improvement when Cadbury Athletic visit St Johns Park. Southam United have lost their last 5 league games and have slipped alarmingly towards the foot of the table. Inconsistent Coventry Copsewood are the visitors and trying to predict how this game will end is one for Mystic Meg!
With a surfeit of cup competition, there is only one game in Division 2 this week and Droitwich Spa, fresh from their 6-0 win over Coton Green, can close the gap to leaders to Chelmsley Town to just 4 points with a win over bottom club Earlswood Town.
Game of the day in Division 3 features the bottom two with AFC Solihull hosting Perrywood. Solihull are still to pick up a point in their inaugural Midland Football League season but will see this as the perfect opportunity. Perrywood had an excellent win at Badsey Rangers a few weeks ago and will be hoping for a similar performance. Barton United could go top with a win at home to FC Stratford and will be wanting to bounce back from last week’s shock defeat at Shipston Excelsior. Expect plenty of goals in the division’s other game when Badsey Rangers entertain Shipston Excelsior.
Les James Challenge Cup
Feckenham are struggling near the foot of Division 2 but they will be favourites to progress when they host Division 3 Coventrians.
Cadbury Athletic vs Lichfield City
Coventry United vs Coleshill Town
Sutton United vs Solihull Moors
Brocton vs Evesham United
Rocester vs Romulus
Under 21 Divisions
Bromsgrove Sporting vs West Midlands Football Academy (21S)
Gornal Athletic vs Stourport Swifts (21S)
Kings Heath Concorde vs H.O.W. Academy (BOWL)
Sutton Coldfield Town vs Leamington (BOWL)
Basford United vs Bedworth United (BOWL)
Overall - Hereford
Division 1 - Nuneaton Griff
Division 2 - Chelmsley Town
Division 3 - Smithswood Firs
Reserve Division - Solihull Moors
Under 21 - Bedworth United
Midland Football League Newsletter
5th November 2015
The draw for the 2nd round of the FA Vase has been made. Ties take place on the weekend of November 21st
WALSALL WOOD vs Holbeach United (UCL)
AFC Bridgnorth (WMRL) vs ALVECHURCH
COVENTRY SPHINX vs BROCTON
COVENTRY UNITED vs Uttoxeter Town
COLESHILL TOWN vs DUNKIRK
HEREFORD vs Haughmond (WMRL)
LONG EATON UNITED vs Pinxton (CML)
HEANOR TOWN vs Leicester Nirvana (UCL)
Cleethorpes Town (NECL) vs RACING CLUB WARWICK
QUORN vs AFC WULFRUNIANS
NUNEATON GRIFF vs HIGHGATE UNITED
Travels of the Press Officer
Saturday October 31st
Boldmere St Michaels 0 Coventry United 2
The first round proper of the FA Vase threw up some interesting ties and there were none better than the all Midland football League game at Church Road. Premier division Boldmere St Michaels are not having the best of seasons languishing in 18th place in the table while their visitors, Division 1 Coventry united are flying high in 2nd place and looking good for promotion. Cheered on by their vocal travelling support, United had to shuffle the pack with a number of players out injured, striker Josh Blake playing as emergency full back. The game had a frantic start with United midfielder Thomas Glasscoe in the referee’s notebook after just 30 seconds following a poor challenge on Andrew Lewis. Within 10 minutes Lewis himself was yellow carded after another poor challenge. The visitors were playing the better football and took the lead in the 13th minute with a clinical finish from Josh O’Grady. Ross Briscoe was twice thwarted by the Mikes defence when in decent positions. There was a felling that Coventry may rue their profligacy in front of goal and Ben Wilkinson was just off target for the Mikes, they seemed to heed the warning. Muzzi Nduna should have done better when clean through but took an age to decide what to do and the chance went begging. The visitors were unlucky just before the break. A perfectly flighted lob from Briscoe beat Sean Butler in the Mikes goal but rattled the cross bar. The ball came down and was headed goalwards by Errol Douglas only to see the ball hit the woodwork again and the danger was cleared. Coventry continued to dominate the game without getting the killer second goal with O’Grady and Nduna going close. The second goal came with 20 minutes remaining. Good work by O’Grady saw him square the ball towards Douglas. A Mikes defender made a hash of the clearance and Douglas made no mistake. Coventry should have extended their lead but their finishing didn’t match the approach play while at the other end Richard Morris was forced into a save by Jason Holmes. When the final whistle there were celebrations from the visitors who will be difficult opposition for whoever they draw in the next round. A feisty game which on another day would have seen red cards on both sides. The referee, after making a booking inside the first minute, did not apply that consistency throughout the game being intent on blasting his whistle as shrilly as he could for as long as he could. Yes, it was annoying!
Tuesday November 3rd
Sporting Khalsa 3 Pelsall Villa 0
A filthy evening weather wise, so a local game was in store with a Polymac Packaging League Cup tie between Sporting Khalsa and Pelsall Villa. A very youthful Pelsall side started brightly and Ryan Dean was off target with an early effort. Josh Mellors had a decent chance for Villa but failed to connect. Khalsa scored with their first effort of note. A deep cross from the right was met by Brad Lawley at the far post who had to stretch to volley the ball home. The goal settled the home side and Kane Cork should have doubled the lead, cutting inside but seeing his shot brilliantly saved by Dan Mikrat.
Khalsa doubled their lead on the half hour mark. Ben Hadley was needlessly tripped in the area and David Meese made no mistake from the spot. With the pitch very wet from the incessant rain, both sides were struggling to keep their feet. Khalsa remained on the front foot after the break. Calum Cooper saw his shot blocked by Michael Murray and then his follow up shot tipped over by Mikrat. The nearest Villa came was a Spencer Blackham free-kick which dipped over the bar. Khalsa’s third came from the best move of the match – Hadley playing the ball into the path of Marvin Nisbett who slotted home. Khalsa missed further opportunities but progressed to the next round where they will travel to Heanor Town. Despite the scoreline, I was impressed with the endeavour of the young Pelsall side. Some of their approach play was very good, just the final pass was missing.
The Midland Football league is guaranteed 14 teams in the second round after a busy weekend of FA Vase 1st round action. Pride of place goes to 3 sides from Division 1 who have made their way through to Round 2. Coventry United travelled to Premier Division Boldmere St Michaels and comfortably saw off the challenge with a 2-0 victory, Josh O’Grady making it 17 for the season Division 1 league leaders Nuneaton Griff beat Anstey Nomads at the Pingles Stadium, a solitary goal from Alex Naughton winning the tie. Racing Club Warwick welcomed Ellesmere Rangers to Townsend Meadow and won by the odd goal in five, Jamie Smith with a brace. Premier Division leading scorer John Mills scored his 26th of the campaign as Hereford won 2-0 at Rocester. Prolific goalscorer Karl Edwards scored 2 as Alvechurch comprehensively won 4-0 at Wisbech Town. Dean Rathbone was another premier Division striker to score 2 as his Coleshill Town team beat Hucknall Town 3-0. Lei Brown is up to 18 for the season as his two goals helped Highgate United to beat Radcliffe Olympic 3-1. Westfields faced a long journey to the East coast to face in-form Cleethorpes Town and despite taking the lead just after half-time, they couldn’t hang on and the NCEL side progressed 2-1. Dunkirk put league form to one side as they recorded a morale boosting victory over Bromsgrove Sporting. A David Hind goal was enough for Quorn to see off the challenge of Clipstone Welfare. There was disappointment for Sporting Khalsa as they were knocked out of an FA Competition for the 2nd successive Saturday, losing 2-0 at Shirebrook Town. Four games went into extra-time. AFC Wulfrunians finally got the better of Harrowby United winning 4-2 with two apiece from Jamie King and Ricky Anslow. Long Eaton United edged past Hinckley AFC thanks to an extra-time winner from Brad Wells. Coventry Sphinx and Black Country Rangers have to do it again after two goals in the last minute of extra-time couldn’t separate the sides. In the replay on Wednesday Rangers took a 3-0 lead and held out until the 83rd minute. A remarkable comeback from Sphinx saw them take the tie into added time and they went on to win 6-4. Likewise Loughborough University must replay at Uttoxeter Town after the side fought out a goalless draw. On Wednesday, the Students bowed out of the competition despite recovering from 2-0 down as a goal in the 80th minute saw Uttoxeter through 3-2.
Just two games in the Premier Division last Saturday and Shepshed Dynamo took the opportunity to record their 5th win on the run and move within 9 points of leaders Hereford with 3 games in hand.
Stourport Swifts were the visitors to the Dovecote and a brace from Michael Reeve settled the game in Dynamo’s favour. An important game in the bottom half of the table saw Bardon Hill beat Continental Star 3-1 leaving the visitors firmly rooted to the bottom of the table. Heanor Town climbed back to the top of the table with an emphatic 10-0 win at Dunkirk in midweek. Both Jay Cooper and Kieran Debrouwer as Heanor now hold a one point lead over Hereford.
Leicester Road have closed the gap at the top of the table following a 5-0 win over Southam United, Amarvir Sandhu and James Hicks both with 2. Pilkington XXX are up to 4th after a Daniel Pitt goal clinched all the points at Heath Hayes. Littleton continue to keep the leaders in their sights thanks to a 2-0 win at Coventry Copsewood. Lichfield City are 6th following a 4-1 win over basement boys Bolehall Swifts. Studley moved up to 14th place after a 3-1 win at Atherstone Town. Coventry United regained top spot on Tuesday night following a 3-1 win over Southam United at Sphinx Drive, Errol Douglas with a couple.
Alvis Sporting Club got back to winning ways with a 7-1 thumping of Feckenham, closing the gap on leaders Chelmsley Town to three points. Thomas Maguire with 3 and Dildale Linton with 2 took their joint tally to 26 goals this season. Tom Craine scored 4 as a resurgent Knowle beat Fairfield Villa 5-1. A big win for Paget Rangers at The Red Lion as 3rd placed Rostance Edwards were beaten 4-1, Mark Bellingham with a couple. Coton Green beat Earlswood Town 2-0 to move into the top half of the table. Sutton United closed the gap on the top three with a 3-2 win over Austrey Rangers.
Smithswood Firs held onto top spot after a 6-2 win at Enville Athletic. Leamington Hibernian are up to 2nd after a 2-1 win at 3rd placed Northfield Town. A huge win for Barton United at The Valley as their 2-0 win, courtesy of a Peter Martin double, over Redditch Borough moves Barton up to 3rd. At the bottom, AFC Solihull are still striving for their first point going down 4-2 at Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons. Mid-table Shipston Excelsior and Burntwood Town shared 4 goals and remain locked together in 8th and 9th. After beating Redditch Borough last week, hopes were high at Alcester Town but they lost by a single goal at Coventrians.
Polymac Packaging League Cup
No shocks in the League Cup as Premier Division sides progressed with victory over Division 1 rivals. Highgate United were taken to extra time by Bromsgrove Sporting, eventually going through by 5 goals to 3. Shane Benjamin scored a hat-trick for gate with 2 more for Lei Brown taking his season tally to 20. Shepshed Dynamo beat Hinckley AFC 2-1 at St Johns Park, Daniel Chapman with the all important goal. Pelsall Villa put up a spirited performance at Sporting Khalsa but couldn’t prevent the home side progressing by 3 goals to 0.
In the Worcestershire Junior Cup, Droitwich Spa and Badsey Rangers made progress with wins over Bredon and Powick Rangers respectively. Inkberrow were knocked out losing on penalties to
Welland. In the Coventry Evening Telegraph Cup there were comfortable home wins for Chelmsley Town over Triumph Athletic and FC Stratford over Jaguar Daimler. AFC Wulfrunians pulled off a giantkilling in the Birmingham Senior Cup beating Halesowen Town of the Evostik Northern Premier Division 1-0 at The Grove. Tenants hosted landlord at Dales Lane as Continental Star lost 3-1 to Rushall Olympic. A young Stoke City side proved too strong for Walsall Wood at Oak Park in the Staffordshire Senior Cup, going through 3 goals to 0. A goal in first half stoppage time was enough for Lye Town to beat Penkridge Town in the JW Hunt Cup.
Solihull Moors progressed through to the semi-final of the Challenge trophy with victory over Cadbury Athletic. In the league, leaders Coleshill Town went down 2-1 at Brocton allowing Coventry United to close the gap with a 5-2 win over Sutton United, Leon Kelly with a hat-trick. Romulus climbed off the bottom with a 3-1 win over Gresley who take over last place.
Under 21 Divisions
One league game in the North division where Sutton Coldfield Town and Walsall Wood drew 1-1. In the South division, Bedworth United are top after a 4-0 win over Gornal Athletic. Level on points with Bedworth are Stourport Swifts after they beat West Midlands Football Academy 2-1. Bromsgrove Sporting could have joined them on 15 points but they were beaten at home by H.O.W. Academy. In the Bowl, there were away wins for Heath Hayes and Newcastle Town while Leamington and Basford United drew 2-2.
There are some very attractive games this weekend at both ends of the table. Leaders Heanor Town are at home to 6th placed Sporting Khalsa, who would go top if they won their games in hand. Two in-form sides meet at the Dovecote as 5th placed Shepshed Dynamo welcome 4th placed Highgate United. 2nd placed Hereford could go back to the top this weekend as they face Rocester at Edgar Street. Alvechurch will hope to close the gap when they entertain an inconsistent Coleshill Town. Two of the bottom three meet at Dales Lane where Continental Star host Coventry Sphinx, fresh from their midweek FA Vase victory. At Silkmore Lane, two more strugglers meet with Brocton taking on Westfields. Dunkirk have to respond to a 10 goal mauling at the hands of Heanor when they entertain Walsall Wood. Lowly Boldmere St Michaels were dumped out of the FA Vase last week by Division 1 Coventry United and they will be looking for a response at Bardon Hill. Two games featuring teams on the fringe of the promotion pack take place at Lye Town who entertain AFC Wulfrunians and at Stourport Swifts who entertain Long Eaton United
Leaders Coventry United will expect to maintain their lead at home to 2nd bottom Stafford Town. 2nd placed Nuneaton Griff have a local derby against Atherstone Town at The Pingles Stadium. Leicester Road have won 6 games on the rot and they take that record to Studley. Bottom club Bolehall Swifts travel to Coventry Copsewood looking to close the gap on the sides above them. Lichfield City can move into the top four with a win at Heather St Johns. Bromsgrove Sporting have games in hand on the leaders and they welcome Pelsall Villa to the Victoria Ground. Pershore Town had a good win on the road last week and they travel to Staffordshire again to face Heath Hayes. Racing Club Warwick are through to the 2nd round of the FA Vase and will want to replicate their cup form when they travel to Cadbury Athletic.
With the top two on cup duty, Rostance Edwards can close the gap with a win at Hampton. The bottom two meet as Earlswood Town entertain Feckenham, a win for the home side closing the gap to just 3 points. Droitwich Spa are 4th and will expect to beat Coton Green at Home. Barnt Green Spartak will have to be on their mettle against visitors Sutton United who have picked up 10 points out of the last 12.
Leaders Smithswood Firs travel to 2nd bottom Perrywood looking to consolidate top position. 2nd placed Leamington Hibernian host Badsey Rangers in what could be a tight game. 4th and 5th meet at The Valley Stadium when Northfield Town travel to Redditch Borough. 3rd placed Barton United travel to mid table Shipston Excelsior. Two sides level on points meet at Inkberrow with Enville Athletic the visitors.
Les James Challenge Cup
Division 2 high flyers Alvis Sporting Club travel to Austrey Rangers in the 2nd round of the competition.
In the quarter final of the Vase, Alcester Town welcome Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons to Old Stratford Road.
Sutton United vs Continental Star (Trophy)
Romulus vs Brocton
Coleshill Town vs Rocester
Evesham United vs Solihull Moors
Lichfield City vs Gresley
Under 21 Divisions
Leamington vs Bedworth United (Bowl)
West Midlands Football Academy vs Kings Heath Concorde
Anstey Nomads vs Tamworth
Tipton Town vs Sutton Coldfield Town
Following an action packed first round of the FA Vase, the Midland Football League has at least 14 teams through to the second round and just 7 games away from a Wembley final. With the strength of our league competition, chances of one of our sides reaching Wembley must be good. Even better, how about an all Midland League final? If that should happen, then a Midland League day out has to be on the cards.
As the competition progresses through the rounds, attendances will increase and interest from local media, supporters, potential supporters should generate much needed publicity for all of our clubs involved. There are some big non-league names in the competition and the Vase has been dominated by the Northern League for many years. The reason for this isn’t too hard to see. Most Northern League clubs choose not to be promoted due to the distances involved with promotion to the Northern Premier League. With only Blyth Spartans and Gateshead, and to a lesser extent, Whitby Town, from the far North East plying their trade in Step 4 and above, most non-league players from the North play in the Northern League. This increases the strength of a number of the teams to such an extent that they could comfortably compete at Step 3 or 4. Does this mean that the MFL is at a disadvantage? Given the strength of our competition this season, there does appear to be more of a level playing field and our clubs should fear no-one in the competition. Who knows, in a couple of months’ time, we could all be celebrating with a trip to the Wembley Arch.
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